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  • Irina Ketkin, author of #adventuresofthelearner

Culture - the maker and breaker

Culture can make or break everything – both for the employer and the employee. Going through a job change myself, I have started to appreciate even more how important corporate culture can be.

Let’s start at the beginning. When an employee joins the company, you want to explain how is it that we do things around here. But the employee’s journey through the culture didn’t start in the training room. It started when s/he left for work that morning, on the journey to the office, at reception and at meeting the first team member.

They say culture has certain tangible and intangible attributes. And when you need to make changes to the culture or explain how things are done around here to someone new, you need to address both kinds of attributes.

Tangible: every single logo, desk placement and laptop you see can subconsciously contribute to the image of the company in one’s head.

Intangible: EVERYTHING ELSE! From fairness, to ethics, to communication and respect – everything contributes to the culture.

But the single most important thing that can make or break your culture, and your company along with it, are the people!

I’ve mentioned in my previous blog post (My first week at Telenor Bulgaria) how impressed I was with the people I met. But let me tell you this – everyone wholeheartedly believes in the values and mission of Telenor. So much so that you see them brought to life by every single person you talk to. And that is impressive!

When I tried digging deeper into how it all came along, it boiled down to a very simple truth – you need to have a proper role model. And the higher up the chain that role model is, the better results you will get.

Think of it this way, if your CEO values learning opportunities, your manager and teammates will do so as well, and that in turn will make you want to learn more, to fit in (yes, we are social animals and we do want to fit in). If you end up in an environment that values something collectively, you are bound to wish to do so as well. And if your values differ from those of the company you work for, then it was never meant to be. Period.

The moral of the story – culture is important! But it is even more important to bring it to life and live it every single day. And no, it is not easy, but it is definitely worth it!

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